Forte Announces Percussion Staff For 2011

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Forte of Grand Prairie, Texas, 2010 Open Class World Finalist, is proud to announce the full percussion staff for the 2011 Season. Tyler Orbison leads the team as Caption Head and Designer and is assisted by

Front Ensemble Coordinator: Jesse Hunter
Front Ensemble Tech: Matt Bibb
Snare & Visual Tech: Cody Hicks & Shawn LaFountain
Tenor Tech: Chris Kleven
Bass Tech: Adam Drexler
Cymbals & Visual Tech: Monique Williams
Cymbal Tech: Megan Coonrod 


Percussion Caption Head, Tyler Orbison

Tyler Orbison will be joining the 2011 Forte Staff as the Percussion Arranger and Caption head. He has been actively involved in music performance and education for over 20 years. He has toured with world-renowned drum lines, outstanding wind ensembles and award-winning percussion ensembles, and has done so from the differing perspectives of performer, instructor and designer. While Tyler has cultivated a love and respect for all music and musicians, his true passion has always been rooted in percussion, an area in which his performing and teaching have positively affected hundreds of people.

Tyler started his drum corps career with a Texas based group called Lone Star. He marched with the corps for two seasons, ’95 and ’96, under Director Robert Poulin and Caption Head Mickey Hartzog. Lone Star competed in DCI’s Division II, now the revamped Open Class, and was known for its outstanding drum line. Tyler went on to march snare at Carolina Crown, under Director Kevin Smith and Caption Head Paul Rennick, becoming a DCI finalist in 1998. While studying percussion at Texas A&M University Commerce, Tyler had the opportunity to tour and perform frequently with both the wind ensemble and percussion ensemble, a nationally recognized group under the direction of Dr. Brian West. During that time he became a cornerstone member of the school’s well known exhibition drum line, serving as snare section leader for three years, including 2000, when the group finished in second place at PASIC.

As an educator, Tyler has experience at every level. In addition to many fine high school groups, he has taught lines in the World Class divisions of both DCI and WGI. From 2006 through 2008, he was on the instructional staff of Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps, based in Milwaukee, WI, under the direction of Roman Blenski. Tyler served Pioneer in many capacities, including Snare Technician, Battery Coordinator, Percussion Arranger and ultimately Percussion Caption Head. For the past several years, Tyler has worked as Assistant Director and Battery Caption Head for Surround Sound, a World Class WGI Indoor Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Allen Joanis. Tyler was an integral part of the design team and instructional staff that guided “S2” back to its status as World Class finalist, and he’s looking forward to the group’s promising future.

Currently, Tyler is Assistant Director of Percussion at Lamar High School in Arlington, TX. Under the guidance of both Tyler and Director Stuart Spoon, Lamar’s drum line has won countless awards and taken first place at many competitions. In 2007, the line was crowned champion of the NTCA, a Dallas-Fort Worth based WGI circuit, and in 2008 they took first place in the “moving” division at the Lone Star Classic, which has become the unofficial state championship for Texas drum lines. In the spring of 2009, Lamar’s percussion ensemble won a call for tapes and was awarded a showcase concert at BOA’s “Music For All” festival in Indianapolis, IN.

Tyler is a member of the Dallas Mavericks Drum Line, and performs regularly for Dynamic Rhythm Entertainment, a Dallas based company that provides customized percussion entertainment for corporate events, weddings, churches, etc. He is an active designer, composer and arranger, and frequently contributes to JW3, a Fort Worth based music publication company that specializes in custom show design. Tyler is also an active clinician and adjudicator. Tyler can be reached at  percussion [at] fortecorps [dot] org">percussion [at] fortecorps [dot] org 

Front Ensemble Coordinator -Jesse Hunter

Jesse Hunter is in pursuit of a Music Education degree at the University of Texas at Arlington. During his tenure at UTA, he has performed with the Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, PASIC line (earning 2nd), Winterline, Orchestra, Small Ensembles, and many various Percussion Ensembles. While at UTA, he has studied with Dr. Michael Varner, Jim Yakas, Jeff Ausdemore, and Ed Stephan (Principal Timpanist for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra). In addition, he has studied with Harriet Motter, Nathan Ratliff, Dan Darrah, Josh Jennings, Mike Nevin, and many other great educators.

Jesse has been the Front Ensemble Director for Aledo High School since 2006 and an arranger since 2008. In addition, he is the Pianist for the Fine Arts program at Aledo High School; accompanying the choir, theater, and jazz band departments. Prior to his position at Aledo, Mr. Hunter taught at Martin High School, Western Hills High School, and Alvarado High School. He routinely has a full clinician schedule during the summer, and has taught clinics, camps, lessons, and electronics consulting throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Area.

Jesse’s performance career is quite varied. For 5 years he was a member of Surround Sound Percussion, and has been on staff since 2007. He was a member of the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps for 3 years, playing Marimba in the Front Ensemble. He has placed as high as fourth while competing as a soloist in the Individual and Ensemble category. Mr. Hunter is a consummate pianist, and has competed nationally as a classical pianist. He is an accompanist, wedding pianist, and the pianist for his church, Gateway Baptist.

Jesse’s professional affiliations include the Texas Music Educators Association, Percussive Arts Society, and the National Fraternity of Student Musicians Piano Guild.

Technician, Cody Hicks

Cody Hicks is currently a Kinesiology senior at the University of Texas at Arlington. During his stay, Cody was a Music Business major for 3 years, and was a part of the 2nd place PASIC drumline. He also performed in the UTA percussion ensemble who performed with Ney Rosauro, and John Riley. He is also currently performing with the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm and Blues Drumline with many Drum Corps vets ranging from Crossmen, Phantom Regiment, Boston Crusaders, and Blue Knights.

Cody also was a member of the 2007 and 2008 Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps, marching both years on Snare. In 2008 he was the Blue Knights Battery and Snare section leader. He also was a member of Metro Alliance Independent Open Indoor Drumline from 2004-2007. Cody was also the Snare section leader in 2007 at Metro Alliance.

Cody is currently finishing his 6th year of teaching battery and clinics in the DFW area. During that time he has taught at Mansfield High School, Martin High School, Trinity High School, Red Oak High School and teaching private lessons at Northwest High School. During Cody?s time at Mansfield High School, Cody has arranged the battery music as well as received many awards. 1st place at HEB Drumline Contest, 5th place at Lonestar in 2005, 1st Place Lonestar 2010, and 1st place at Plano Drumline Contest AA 2010. Many of Cody?s students have continued to the Collegiate and Drum Corps level.

Cody has many mentors in music: Chad Gibson, Jeff Ausdemore, John Pollard, Doug Bush, Evan Blackard, Ellis Hampton, Jim Yakas, Chris Scott, Paul Weber, Kevin McNulty, and many many more.

Technician, Monique Williams

Monique Williams grew up with music all around her. At age seven she began to play the drums, taking after her uncle. In 5th grade, Monique joined the orchestra and began playing violin. As middle school and high school came around she began to play percussion again. She played snare for 3 yrs, and quads her senior year. Monique marched for the 2 years with the Racine Scouts, under the direction of Paul Chaffee. In 2009, she marched cymbals for Surround Sound Percussion, making it through to the finals and opening many doors. She currently plays drums for Turning Point Church in Burleson, Texas and plays bass for The Cutting Edge Haunted House Drumline. She’s currently attending UTA majoring in Music Education and a minor in Spanish.

Technician, Megan Coonrod 

Megan Coonrod is excited to be entering her second season as the cymbal instructor for Forte Drum and Bugle Corps. She was a 5-year cymbal veteran and charter member of WGI’s PIW Gateway Indoor, aging out in 2008. 

A 2009 graduate of Missouri State University, Megan earned her degree in English Education. While at MSU, Megan was fortunate enough to play with the nationally-recognized Missouri State Wind Ensemble, the Pride of Missouri State Marching Band, MSU Jazz Band, and the MSU Saxophone Quartet. Since 2006, she has been a very active cymbal, visual, and woodwind instructor at high schools across Missouri. 

Currently, Megan is located in St. Louis, MO, where she is a visual and music instructor for Parkway West High School and cymbal instructor for the Francis Howell Winter Drumline.

Technician, Matt Bibb 

Matt’s drum corps experience was with the Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps from 2005-2007 under caption heads Mickey Hartzog and Stuart Spoon. While at Pioneer he was under the instruction of respected teachers Tyler Orbison, Drew Russell, Keith Stephens, and Adam Hill. In 2005 Matt was the featured xylophone soloist and in 2007 was the quad line section leader.

Matt began attending Texas Christian University in the fall of 2006 where he majors in Music Education. Under the direction of Dr. Brian West, Matt has been apart of award winning percussion ensembles and drumlines. In 2006, he was apart of the TCU Indoor Drumline that placed first in the PAS Marching Percussion Festival and swept all of the caption awards. Since then, Matt served as the quad line section leader for three years and drumline captain in 2009. In 2008, Matt had the pleasure of performing with the TCU Percussion Ensemble when they performed at the PASIC Showcase Concert after winning the Percussive Arts Society International Percussion Ensemble Competitions.

Matt is currently finishing his Bachelor of Music Education degree from TCU with his student teaching at Azle High School where he has spent the past two years as the assistant percussion instructor and prvate lesson teacher. He plans to graduate in December of 2010. His other teaching experience includes quad tech for Spokane Thunder in 2010 and percussion tech and private lesson teacher for North Crowley High School and Lamar High School. 

Technician, Shawn LaFountain 

Shawn LaFountain is the director of percussion for the Wills Point ISD band program. He is in his second year as a full time percussion instructor, team teaching 6th through 12th grade. Mr. LaFountain assists with the marching band, teaching the front ensemble, drum line and percussion ensemble in the spring. At the Junior High school, he teaches the 6th grade beginner percussion class and assists with the 7th and 8th grade bands. 

Shawn graduated from Tarleton State University where he earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree. While in school, he earned the award for most outstanding performer in the music department for the 2007 honors recital. He also was an active member of Kappa Kappa Psi, the National Honorary Band Fraternity, and was the founding member and organizer of the Tarleton Percussion Club. 

Shawn marched three years of DCI with the Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps; one year as drum line section leader. He has also been on the visual staff for the Revolution Drum and Bugle Corps for two summers serving one year as the drum line visual tech.

Technician, Chris Kleven 

Chris Kleven will be joining Forte?s instructional staff as quad technician for the 2011 season. He will graduate in May, 2011 from Tarleton State University with a Bachelor of Music degree and has been a staple in the development of the percussion program within the University. Kleven has held many leadership positions within various concert and marching ensembles at Tarleton. For the past two years Chris held the position of Percussion Caption Head for The Sound and The Fury Marching Band, under the direction of Dr. Gary Westbrook. While holding this position he was responsible for writing and instruction of the battery and front ensemble within the marching band as well as drill design and arranging for the drum line?s exhibition performances.

Kleven marched quads for two seasons (2007 and 2008) and was named section leader his second year with Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps, under the direction of Roman Blenski and Caption Heads Stuart Spoon (2007) and Tyler Orbison (2008). Following his age out season in DCI he joined the ranks of Surround Sound Percussion, under the direction of Allen Joanis, and marched quads in the 2009 season where the group competed in the WGI World Indoor Percussion Finals. Chris joined the staff of Surround Sound Percussion as quad technician in the 2010 season.

As a performer, Kleven has had many opportunities for solo and ensemble percussion performance around the Nation. In 2007 he performed solo marimba at the Texas Music Educator?s Association in San Antonio, Texas. And in 2011 Chris was selected to perform with the College Band Director?s National Association Wind Ensemble in Seattle, Washington. Kleven also has a Jazz Combo, The Earthtones, for which he arranges and plays vibes. The Earthtones have performed at various live venues including weddings and restaurants. Chris Kleven currently resides in Weatherford, TX

Technician, Adam Drexler 

Adam started marching in 2006 with Capital Regiment. Upon returning home he acquired a job teaching at Milford High School where he taught for the fall and Indoor season.

In the summer of 2007 Adam went to Carolina Crown. He returned to Milford for the fall season and consulted at Sycamore High School for their indoor program. It was that same indoor season that Adam joined Rhythm X indoor percussion ensemble. 

Adam marched his DCI age out with Carolina Crown for the 2008 season. He returned back to Ohio afterwards to teach the Miami University drumline in the fall. He taught Tallawanda High School during the 2009 indoor season, in which he also marched his age out at Rhythm X. 

Upon graduation from Miami in 2009 Adam moved to Texas and took a year off from teaching. Adam currently lives in Denton and teaches at Keller High School.

Next Camp: Burleson, TX Jan 21-23rd: 

Posted by on Tuesday, January 18th, 2011. Filed under DCI Open.